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  • Writer's picturejoanmann

2024 - Newsletter #2

March 10th, 2024

Morning all –

We are up early to fling windows and doors open and encourage some cool morning air into the house.    The days remain hot and we have watched a few showers in the distance but are still waiting for some to arrive here.  

Zambia’s power is over 90% hydro, coming from the Kariba dam, Kafue dam and a few others.    The lack of rain has resulted in a low level of water within the Kariba basin, and load shedding is scheduled to begin tomorrow to conserve electricity.    Power outages will be for 8 hours per day, with the hours rotating from region to region, week to week.   For us, power will be off tomorrow between 5 am and 1 pm.    We have been spoiled until now with consistent power…and now comes a new reality.   

This past week we visited Good Hope and Nalubumba and observed the lunch program at both schools.   The quantity of nsima prepared is daunting and yet somehow these strong Zambian women paddle and stir the thick porridge for about ½ hour.    They stir the hot pot over a hot fire in 33 degree heat and I wilt just watching the process.    The upside is watching the children eat and behave like normal rascally kids.    Thank you Lord.

Our closest neighbour is a young family who work for Plateau farm.    Clement and Shelly have 3 youngsters and also care for a nephew of Shelly’s who has been orphaned.    Clement is hired as a gardener, and we have seen the lovely flower beds and veggie garden he has planted.   He asked to plant flowers at the church yard and we have said “of course and thank you!”    Clement’s love of flowers may be why their young son is named Pansy 😊  (Here in Zambia they drop the “e” at the end of word, hence his name is pronounced “Pans”.    All good.)     Clement earns K42 per day ($2.65) and Shelly has very recently gone to work with tobacco production at Plateau farm.  She earns K35 per day ($2.20).    Plateau is 3 km walk away and start time is 6 am.   She walks, with ‘Pans’ on her back, then works an eight-hour shift with one break.    The other day after work she came to us with concerns about Pans, who is 17 months and still breast fed.   The little tyke was dehydrated due to the heat and only one opportunity to nurse during Shelly’s shift.    We are working on a plan to help the family and allow Shelly to stay home until Pans is weaned.     I have a picture of Shelly to bring home and when I start to gripe…I will remember her and be grateful for the privileges I live with.

Yesterday morning was our annual “Welcome Day” for all the students within the sponsorship program.    We sat in the shade of a big tree near the church and were treated to songs and poems presented by the pupils.    Ruhtt had arranged for several former students, now classroom teachers, to give motivational talks to the Grades 10, 11 and 12’s and truly we were also motivated!   The morning ended with picture taking, refreshments and the presentation of personal care packets to each pupil.    For many, the opportunity to attend school and graduate is life-changing.   Thank you to all who are helping to make this possible. 

Tomorrow morning we will visit the District Commissioner to discuss purchasing mealie meal for food relief and the lunch program.    We will take some official paperwork to support our goals and target communities.    What we are hoping for is a priority position in the queue to purchase at a slightly reduced cost.    We will see.

Another name for this house could be the “Sugar Ant Cottage”.     There must be an immense storehouse of the little things beneath the foundation.    We are not sure where they come from, or where they are going, but along their journey they visit every crumb and small insect.    It is quite fascinating to watch them scale table legs to visit whatever food might on the top.   How do they know the Tupperware container of cookies on the table is not quite sealed??     They know!     A few days ago we began the day knocking ants off several dozen cookies and putting them in the freezer.   (Thus far, the freezer is a no-go-zone.)    Evenings bring preying mantis, moths, flying ants and other equally beautiful, winged insects.    It seems they love the house as much as we do.  

Soon it is time to walk across the lane to church to worship.    We are blessed.  

And blessings upon each of you!

Joan

 

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